Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Many, many projects

I have not been accomplishing much lately on any one project: knitting, cross stitching, sewing, cooking, etc.  Instead, I have been dabbling in everything.  I have been spending some time in the garden and working on about four different knitting projects in addition to reorganizing closets and cabinets in our house to eliminate clutter and make things easiser to find.

On the knitting front, I have been working on sleeves for two different sweaters: the Pan-Am Jacket and Cassidy. On the jacket, I need to sew the bind off in place and then start the second sleeve.  On Cassidy, I am nearly finished with the second sleeve.  Next up: blocking and the hood. Cassidy is a KAL with a friend that I knit with on Saturdays.  I have been intentionally working slowly on it so that I don't get too far ahead of her. We have both been flirting with many other projects during the knitting of this one, so I am not at all surprised that it is taking sooo long to finish!

One of the said "other projects" is another KAL with the same friend.  I found Danger Craft's Basil the Boogie-Woogie Brontosaurus pattern via Facebook and realized that I really wanted to knit him.  When I showed the pattern to K, she wanted to drop everything and work on it, too! We set a date for the KAL kick-off and then it took me a couple of weeks to really start knitting on him.  It was a really quick and emjoyable knit.  So much so, that I may buy another of her patterns and get to work knitting more toys.  These would make great Christmas gifts to my nephews and possibly a niece, too!

The fourth project I have been trying to finish is a design project that will work into a class that I have volunteered to teach at a knitting retreat next February: steeking. I have been designing a fairisle sweater for a 16" tall doll.  Much of it I have been designing while knitting.  This means that I stop to rip quite often and then continue.  I would never use this method for an adult sweater, but knitting until the body is long enough to reach the bottom of her arms, just seemed reasonable at the time! For the sleeves, I worked out a pattern first as I wanted to make sure the clover motiff was centered on the arm. It is going well, and I hope to have it finished by the end of the weekend.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Pan-Am Jacket Progress

Since I have returned to cross stitching, I am not knitting quite so often.  My shoulder hurts a little less, though, so I think this returning desire to stitch may be healthy for me!

Most Saturdays, a group of friends meet at a Starbucks for knitting. There is a core group of three of us, but many times one of four other knitters join us. Most weekends, someone stops to talk to us about our craft and sometimes they, too, are knitters. A week ago, one such person asked if she could join our little group.  Of course, we said, "Yes." Fast-forwarding to Thursday afternoon...I already knew not to expect one of the core members, as she is out of town.  The second was offered some overtime at work, and would newly be unavailable, so I arrived on time and waited to see if anyone showed. It was a pleasant day to sit outside, sip coffee and knit. The new girl never showed, but I had a very nice time working away. About a half an hour before I was ready to leave, a lovely lady and fellow knitter sat down nearby and we talked until I needed to go. It was altogether a wonderful experience that I don't often enjoy.

As I was working on my Pan-Am Jacket, I finished the body, moved the stitches onto waste yarn for later, and began the first sleeve. (I don't have an extra needle in the correct size right now, or I would have used it instead.) Later on that day, we made a 40 minute drive to some relatives' house for a picnic and during that time I worked on cross stitching.  However, while we sat outside, enjoying the tree-filtered sunlight, I pulled out the jacket and knit almost half the sleeve in a relatively short time period.  I still love working the pattern and taking frequent breaks to cross stitch is helping me to stay interested in the rather simple stitch pattern that comprises the bulk of the sweater. I am looking forward to cooler days and the finished project!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Finished Project

A few days ago, I finished the counted cross stitch project that I  last showed with only one color finished. I am still not sure where to hang it or possibly who will receive it as a gift.  For now it will go into my stash of wall hangings. :)

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Paleo Diet

Looking to eat more whole foods and regulate my insulin and blood sugar levels, I am working on "going Paleo." I have a friend who has done this successfully who loves this way of eating. As always, incorporating lots of seasonal veggies is always heathier than processed foods, so I expect this to help my overall health. 

In the past I have enjoyed throwing a "dinner party" where friends come to my house and we put together freezer meals.  These are raw food meals that only need to be thawed and cooked.  Everything for the main dish is in the bag.  Side dishes like a vegetable or salad are made while the main dish cooks.

I just discovered a set of 40 Paleo freezer dinner recipes at savingdinner.com and invited my friend K to join me for filling the freezer. We typically spend at least 6 hours on a Saturday morning chopping veggies and meats, adding spices and condiments and filling the bags. It is fun and takes a huge bite out of the preparation time for future dinners. The new recipes are created to make 20 meals at a time. I'm not sure that we'll do more than 8-10 recipes at a time, because it gets expensive and takes too much time. We both usually divide each meal (meant for 4-6 people) into 2 bags so that we have the right sized meals for our households.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Cross Stitch!

Last Sunday afternoon, my mom was giving away some needlework kits that she has been saving. One SIL was taking some of the stuff to sell.  There was one, small, counted cross stitch kit that I commented on how much I liked it, so Mom did not offer it up to sell.  Later that evening, I was tired of knitting on my jacket and asked if I could start the kit. She prefers crewel embroidery over cross stitch of any kind and gave me the kit. Just a few days later I have all of the white finished and am starting on the next most used color. (It is a small project, only 5" x 8" after framing.) White is the main color as the picture is of a sheepdog. It has been so much fun working on it, that I may finish and then go back to working on a large underwater scene that I started several years ago. I don't think I have worked on counted cross stitch since 2003.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

I'm Back.

The afghan has been finished for almost 2 years, now, and can be seen here. I've also finished many, many other projects in my hiatus from this blog. 

Currently I am in the Knitting Daily KAL, working on the Pan-Am Jacket. I am using Elann's Peruvian Highland Wool. Like so many others in the KAL, I found the start was difficult, at best.  I ended up just adding 2 extra stitches at the cast on and then 2 more extras when making the final cast on for the neck shaping.  This results in the 2 stitches on the front edges being in addition to the charts, which I find much easier to work.  My yarn choice and other details are here. I wanted it a little longer, but not wider, so I am working the center back increases every 6 rows instead of alternating every 4 then every 6.  I started to do this after the yoke was completed as I did not want to alter the fit through the shoulders.

I have finished the yoke and am working the body, having removed the sleeve stitches from the needles.  There are very few increases remaining, so I don't need to focus on the charts so much.  I have memorized the pattern and am enjoying being able to watch TV while knitting on this cardigan.